Current location: somewhere above the clouds – finally!

It took me a full 13 hours to get from Phuket to Dalat last Sunday, where I had plans to meet up with Rachel for a couple of days of hiking. A direct flight from Phuket would surely take no longer than two hours, but zigzagging through both Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City… the day was exhausting to say the least.

Four days later, after another half a day of traveling – again, detouring via Ho Chi Minh – I am now finally on my way to Da Nang and Hoi An. Without going into detail, it’s been one hell of a day that’s cost us a lot of waiting, a bucketful of patience (breathe in, breathe out…), an English class, a connecting flight, a Swiss knife and a whole lot of emotional distress – on my part thanks to the latter, which was really not about the knife itself but about all the hassle that we’d gone through. I’m finally up in the air again, though, so I’m not going to complain.

Anyways. Dalat was amazing! It was so good to be on the road again, and so good to catch up with Rachel. We met half a year ago at Big Hostel in Sydney where she’d just arrived from two months on the road and I’d just gotten back from work. This was in my whiskey bar days, so it was way past midnight and I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom when a girl comes in and asks me if it’s my phone that’s on the bed that they’ve told is hers – my bed, that is. There had clearly been a mix up that needed to be sorted out, so we took off to the reception.

Adventurers by day and grannies by night, Rachel and I are on the same page as far as traveling is concerned, which, I dare say, is a rare thing. We spent our days in Dalat canyoning, hiking and chasing waterfalls that one should not miss when in Dalat.

Day 1: Canyoning

We spent the first day canyoning. With no real clue of what canyoning actually entails, I was positively surprised by it. Our full-day tour consisted of five activities: 2 x abseiling a cliff, 1 x abseiling a waterfall (called the ‘Washing Machine’), a far-from-comfortable slide down a mini waterfall (read: rocks) and jumping off of cliffs. Such a fun day!

Day 2: Hiking

On our second day we took off to conquer the highest point of Southern Vietnam, Lang Biang. Having gone from running around for at least 10 hours a day in Sydney to sitting on the floor for a full four weeks in Thailand (except for when practicing yoga, obviously) – a tough transition, safe to say – I found the hike up to the top tough, but it was so good to be moving again! There had been rain on the forecast, but as that was the case for the rest of our stay, too, we’d decided to go ahead with it anyways. Two hours later when we finally got to the top located at 2167 meters above sea level, there was no view in sight but it did not really bother us. We had a good time with our tour guide Monkey (Vietnamese names… yup), so it was grand.

Day 3: Chasing waterfalls

After two days of guided touring we decided we’d venture off on our own on our third and last day. We thought we could get ourselves motorbikes to go see some waterfalls in the vicinity, but anywhere we went we kept being warned about the traffic. Rachel lives in Ho Chi Minh, though, where the traffic is c-r-a-z-y per definition, so for her the traffic in Dalat was no biggie. Having had a motorbike in my previous life (read: when I was young) I’m quite used to driving, too, so we thought we’d give it a go anyways and it was the best decision ever. 

Neither one of us is a big fan of waterfalls, but we figured it’d be cool to cruise through the countryside and get a glimpse of the local lifestyle, which was definitely the case. It was so green and so beautiful! Rachel navigated us with the help of Google Maps, and besides getting lost once and stuck in the mud, too, all went well. What a day!

My next stop is Hoi An from where I’ll once more fly through Ho Chi Minh on Monday, this time to Phu Quoc where I’ll meet up with one of my best friends from home. Hoi An has been forecasted with rain, but if that turns out to be the case then so be it. I’m more than happy to spend my last couple days on my own exploring the city of lanterns and – I’ve heard – cozy cafes.

What would be a better place to wrap up all that’s been since September 4th, 2016?